CHATHAM – Sometimes baseball games are like boxing matches. One minute the other fighter is up against the ropes, then a few rounds later the tables are turned and all it comes down to is who is going to connect the last punch.
Chatham ended up being the squad that had just a little bit more fight in them, topping the Kettleers 9-8.
The game started with the Anglers delivering a first inning that felt like a knock out punch. Chatham put up six runs in the initial frame. Of the ten batters that came to the plat, the left handed hitting Kris Bryant (San Diego) led the charge by belting a grand slam over the opposite field fence off of Cotuit starter Kaleb Fleck (Pitt-Johnstown). Joe Sever (Pepperdine) and Darnel Matthews (Cal) also had RBI singles.
Bryant used keen anticipation at the plate to give Chatham the early lead.
“He threw me a slider outside, got good wood on it. He made me look foolish a couple before that. He wasn’t really throwing his fastball for strikes, so I was kind of anticipating a slider there, so I put a good swing on it.”
Chatham landed a couple more jabs in the forth inning. Darnel Matthews scored on a Dane Phillips (Oklahoma State) fielder’s choice, and Evan Mazzilli (South Carolina) reached home on a Keenan Kish (Florida) balk. The score was 8-1 heading into the fifth.
Chatham starter Dace Kime (Louisville) pitched very admirably through those first four innings, only giving up the one unearned run. He threw aggressively at hitters and was able to rack up six strikeouts, two of which were against Cotuit’s best hitter Victor Roache (Georgia Southern).
It was the fifth inning when Cotuit chased Kime out of the game coming back with a valiant seven run round.
After a Patrick Biondi (Michigan) strike out, fellow speedster Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech) singled and stole second, With Wren’s speed being a constant threat, Kime was obligated to throw fastballs Mike Yastrzemski’s (Vanderbilt) way, a pitch he had been waiting for all night. Mike sent a heater over the right field fence cutting the deficit to five. The homerun was Yastrzemski’s first on the year.
The ever-humble Yastrzemski gave credit to Wren for getting on base and getting him the pitch he wanted.
“The whole night I was looking for a fastball to hit, and if Wren doesn’t get on base and give me the opportunity, then I probably don’t get the pitch.”
Victor Roache was then hit by a pitch, Deven Marrero (Arizona State) doubled down the third base line, and Torsten Boss (Michigan State) drew a walk, giving the Jordan Leyland (UC Irvine) the opportunity to throw a few punches of his own. He did so by singling in Marrero and Roache, bringing the Kettleers to within three runs of Chatham.
Logan Vick (Baylor) kept the round going by hitting into a fielder’s choice. Kevin Roundtree (USC) then hit a ball that shortstop Stephen Perez (Miami) couldn’t field cleanly allowing Roundtree to again load the bases for Cotuit. Manager Mike Roberts then called for Alex Yarbrough (Ole Miss) to rise from the dugout to pinch hit for Biondi. With the Rocky theme song surely going through Yarbrough’s head, he evened up the fight hitting a Chad Gallager (Marist) pitch down the left field line bringing in all three runners and knotting the tilt at eight runs apiece. Yarbrough tried to leg out a triple but was thrown out by an accurate throw to third.
The next inning Chatham showed resiliency by fighting back and connecting with what would prove to be the game-winning blow. After singles from Alex Kalbick (Maine) and Dane Phillips, Joe Sever capped off his 3 for 4 day was an RBI double.
Chatham relievers Tucker Healy (Ithica) and Matt Koch (Louisville) kept Cotuit at bay in the final two innings ending the hard fought heavyweight matchup and sealing the Chatham victory.
Chatham coach John Schiffner was upbeat after the game and put his stamp of approval on how the Anglers have been playing as of late.
“We have to win obviously and get some help, but we don’t want to think of the playoffs, we just want to think about one game at a time. But I’m really proud, the last week and a half or so we have been playing really good baseball. Our little mantra right now is make everybody not was to play us.”
Mike Roberts sure wished that Cotuit hadn’t played Chatham. Despite showing signs of spunk and fight with the seven run comeback, Roberts claimed that it’s tough to build any sort of momentum when the team can’t come away from the clash with a victory.
“I don’t ever think a loss sparks energy. I don’t deal with that. That’s mediocrity. I think individuals that may come away with some positives, but rarely do you ever take away positives as a whole when you lose.”
The Kettleers will fight on against Y-D Friday at Red Wilson Field for a five o clock game.